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That lonely feeling that makes your guts crunch. It something that I used to ignore. But it always signals something. I experience so many of my emotions in my stomach. It’s practically the only place my body can signal to me, that I would notice. 

My sister Angie has likely hated me even since before I was born. I don’t blame her anymore. I used to. But I was a brat and didn’t understand then.  When my Mom got pregnant with me, Angie was 13 years old and clearly already established as the baby of the family. Mom probably didn’t intend on getting pregnant, but like many women she fell in love with a man, and based on my limited biological knowledge, they obviously didn’t use protection. Dad was good-looking, I’m guessing. Charming, obnoxious, domineering and ridiculous to anyone else but those who love him. Mom once called him the love of her life, but she wouldn’t admit it if you asked her. I can see that. I can see how she could fall for him. Because I had. Since 18 I have fallen in love with my dad. Men who were just like him in ways that I couldn’t realize until now. All different ends of the spectrum but all my dad nonetheless. The cycle wasn’t broken until almost a year ago. 8 + years of terrible pain and consequences, and 26 + years of just dealing with my Dad. 

The worst part, if there is a part in this that could be deemed more terrible than the next, is that I became him. I am my father. I know that my mom runs strong in me, but there is so much of him too. I have fought it. Only admitting to anyone that would ask, that “yes we have the same head shape and lips”. Not really wanting to acknowledge how alike he and I are. My father is a driven man, never apologizes because he cannot fathom he could be wrong. I see myself as driven, and completely unable to hide my contempt for someone on my face. Natural leader, while also feeling as though tasks would be better accomplished if I did them on my own. Controlled and unyielding but yet sensing the line, and immediately feeling when I have gone too far. By that time it’s too late.
My words are calculated in milliseconds, and I have already planned them to hurt at maximum capacity. Not sting,but hurt. My mind processes too fast. It is like my annoyance and anger are the first ones in line for the sales at my mouth. I wish it wasn’t that way, and that those emotions were last in a long line, waiting to get in. That they finally get in the store, and the first rush and chaos is already over. When they walk in, all they see is sizes extra small and size 6 shoes (hating people with baby feet when I wear 11..). They are defeated and walk out of the store without a purchase or causing any damage. Maybe then the things that rush out of my mouth wouldn’t be the first ones I think and say in rage.
Another time my stomach hurts. When I know that I have gone too far but I can’t go back. How does one person subtly burn so many little bridges?

DeterminationGetting in the gym is difficult. People trying to get back in shape, people trying to get IN shape to begin with…all around, its terrible. The middle part, of actually working out, isn’t so bad, it’s the beginning and the pre-beginning (which is all mental).

Today was an especially hard workout for me. I happen to fall in between the two aforementioned categories and I have been on a gym ‘kick’ the last 3 weeks. I am pretty proud of myself, seeing as past failures have been a mixture of inconsistency and excuses about other things I could be doing instead. Homework I should finish, bills I should negotiate, and syndicated episodes of The Golden Girls that simply won’t watch themselves!

I had completed a few jog/walk intervals and was finishing up with a bike workout. I was nearing the last 5 mins, which arguably are the hardest (and I have to force myself to complete them), and I said to myself “Commit to yourself”. This was not said out loud, didn’t wanna freak out the painfully thin korean guy with the 10 lb weights trembling nearby, but in my head. Commit to yourself Alyssa. Why is that so difficult?

It seems strange because adults we commit to a lot of things everyday. We commit to going to work, because we commit to paying our rent. We commit to doing homework for classes because we commit to getting our degrees. We commit to a person we love, because they are the one we want to be with them. But why is it so hard to commit to yourself? Why have I put myself and my physical body last? We only get one of these clunky things, so why am I not committed to its up-keep the same way I am to emptying the dishwasher or watering my beloved plants (Jasper, Remus, Zeke, and baby Zelda).

I feel like in many ways society has made us feel ashamed and prideful if we focus on ourselves too much. Women especially are instructed to be caregivers and aid others. Don’t be selfish and conceited. It is not all about you. Put others first. Well like a Baptist who has recently discovered the holy spirit, I REBUKE this ideal. Why can’t I put ME first? Why is this seen as a weakness? In fact, putting me before everyone will likely benefit the masses because if I am in a good place, I can do the most good for other people. Before I can really help others, I have to help my damn self.

Pushed through those last 5 mins and kept saying (in my head), “Commit to yourself Alyssa”. And if I die trying (rapper 50 cent didn’t die after he got shot 9 times, so my chances are pretty good) by way of working out, then so be it. Take me away Charles Darwin, survival of the fittest. We should make sure the commitment we never falter on, is the one we make with ourselves. Stay classy.


I can think of a lot of things that make me thankful for the mother I have. Tons in fact. Its a wonderment to me how I could have scored a home run in the parent department even with a 50% showing from my dad (was always there financially and to lay Jewish guilt on me, Chicago-raised black man style). I managed to navigate my way through teen pregnancy (not even close), addiction (negative) and haven’t lived home in years. But somehow I still feel angry about it all. Thinking about situations that were never explained to me, life concepts that were never taught to me and all in the name of ‘shielding’ me from pain. I bitch and moan now but things could have been so much worse and I wonder now if maybe they should have been. Maybe I have stumbled more, had more authoritarian restrictions, I could have by passed those mistakes and come out stronger on the other side. I should have been forced to practice my flute for two hours everyday and to continue playing soccer. Whenever I had money given to be, I should have had my hand controlled and told to place half in a bank. Its only much later that I even realize that by taking everything, I would lose so much. Especially when I wanted it the most.

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is the idea that everything in our world has an understandable meaning. Saying that feels hypocritical because in real-time I am all about quantifying answers, and research. I think I can live in the dichotomy of wanting to know everything, but still being emotionally ok knowing that somethings, I will never, ever know.

Specifically, why are we here and what does all this mean and how long can it last. Sure, those kind of questions can be answered by a sarcastic, know-it-all with a hipster vibe and a large conflict free coffee, but in reality those answers don’t exist.

When I drive home from work some mornings, and I decide to turn off the radio (I sometimes get sick of hearing the same 10 songs, but I know all the words so…who am I kidding?) and I think about those questions. It’s honestly in no way philosophical or in search of a wanting for enlightenment, rather I like to frustrate myself. That feeling alone is something that I cannot explain.

Time for top 40 hits about gold chains…

a brand new space that is my very own. how absolutely wonderful.

let the juices start a-flowing.

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